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The Stone Tape

The Stone Tape – 1972
Peter Sasdy

Nigel Kneale

Innes Lloyd producer

Michael Bryant – Peter Brock
Jane Asher – Jill Greeley
Iain Cuthbertson – Roy Collinson
Michael Bates – Eddie Holmes
Reginald Marsh – Crawshaw
Tom Chadbon – Hargrave
John Forgeham – Maudsley
Philip Trewinnard – Stewart Jessop
James Cosmo – Cliff Dow
Neil Wilson – Sergeant Paterson
Christopher Banks – Vicar
Michael Graham Cox – Alan
Hilda Fenemore – Bar helper
Peggy Marshall – Bar lady

Review by Theo Robertson

The Stone Tape (1972) (TV)

Good But Unoriginal,
BBC four showed a tribute to the great Nigel Kneale entitled THE KNEALE TAPES and followed it with a screening of the 1972 teleplay THE STONE TAPE. I enjoyed the profile but couldn’t help thinking I would have preferred seeing the groundbreaking 1984 or even QUATERMASS 2 but never look a gift horse in the mouth
I enjoyed THE STONE TAPE far more than I expected but there is a slight flaw to it – It’s highly derivative of Kneale`s other scripts from the past, especially his masterwork QUATERMASS AND THE PIT. Without giving too much away I was instantly reminded of the events of Hobs Lane with a terrified character running away and a minister turning up with a bell, book and candle.

THE STONE TAPE does thankfully manage to stand on its own legs and works as a haunted house story. It’s also very clever even if it’s not amongst Kneale`s greatest work though some viewers may be put off with the unsympathetic characters especially Peter Brock, but remember Kneale`s not the sort of guy who paints people black and white. Director Peter Sasdy`s direction may be a little flat but that’s not really a criticism and he does bring a certain amount of atmosphere to the play, check out the scary title and end credits. My only criticism of Sasdy is that the acting is a little over emphatic, which strangely seems to be a problem with some of Nigel Kneale teleplays no matter who the director is.

But it’s still pretty good stuff from a time when watching television was a great experience, and I’d be very interested in what people who have never seen QUATERMASS AND THE PIT thought of it.

And if you’re reading this Mister Kneale I’d like to say thanks for all the outstanding drama you’ve given us over the decades

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